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County offices embrace Christmas spirit through donations for new program

Five county offices are accepting donations through Dec. 15

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The Davison County Highway Department's Caring Tree, located at their main office in Mitchell, had amassed dozens of gifts on Monday, Dec. 6, for their donation to Avera Brady Nursing Home. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

As Christmas trees are erected all throughout Davison County, a new program sponsored by county officials and area organizations aims to bring the spirit of giving into government offices.

From now through Dec. 15, Davison County is hosting its first County Caring Tree program, collecting donations for charities that give back to community members in need.

At five locations across the county, visitors can stop in and check out decorated Christmas trees, while dropping off donations to benefit a variety of causes.

The Davison County Public Safety Building is seeking kids’ clothing to benefit the Mitchell School District Caring Closet, whose mission is to confidentially distribute daily essentials to students, allowing them to focus on having a successful academic school year.

At the Davison County Fairgrounds, the program is hoping to receive donations of pet food and supplies to support Purr N Ruff Animal Rescue’s work.

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The Davison County Highway Department seeks to collect puzzles, books, combs and other items to donate to Avera Brady Nursing Home, while the Davison County Courthouse is seeking winter clothing, specifically mittens and hats, on behalf of the Salvation Army.

At the program’s fifth location, the North County Offices will be giving out candy canes and toothbrushes to children who draw in a coloring page to be given to a veteran.

Tonya Meaney, director of human resources for Davison County, said the program came to fruition from a desire to give back after many have faced struggles in the last year.

“It's been a hard year so we wanted to do what we can to help out people in the county who need it the most,” Meaney said. “We just really wanted a way to give back.”

Despite some organizations having a nationwide reach, Meaney assured the donations, which have already started coming in, will benefit individuals within the county.

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The Davison County Courthouse's Caring Tree, located just inside the building's main entrance in Mitchell, was decorated Monday, Dec. 6, with hats and mittens that will be donated to the Salvation Army. (Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic)

“Some of the trees have already gotten quite a few things,” Meaney said. “It all stays local so [the county will accept] as many [donations] as we can help out our locals.”

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Using trees that have been in storage since the county used to host open houses, some county offices voted on a theme for their trees and donations, while others were assigned.

As of Monday afternoon, the highway department collected dozens of donations, including eight puzzles, bandannas and cosmetic items.

On Dec. 15, the last day of donations, county officials are hosting a self-guided open house, where visitors can check out the various trees at all five locations during their regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours. The county will provide treats to snack on while looking at the trees.

“We were talking about how we’d like to get people back in and get them familiar with the courthouse and different buildings,” Meaney said. “We just wanted to get the public back in (county offices.)”

Meaney said anyone can make a donation at any of the five sites, regardless of if it matches the site’s theme.

Related Topics: CHRISTMAS
A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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